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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Guardianship or Emanicipation for a Stepchild

    I am the stepmother of a 16 year old girl. She is a legal resident of Delaware however her father has taken her to arkansas to live with him and his girlfriend. The Delaware court currently is doing an investigation through Family Services. The child wishes to live with me in Delaware not her parents as they are both verbally and emotionally abusive and have cut her off from all contact with friends or family in Delaware. Is it possible for her to emanicipate herself in Arkansas in order that she can move back to live with me in delaware or can I living in delaware file for guardianship in Arkansas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Default Arkansas - Removal of Disability of Minority

    Arkansas' "emancipation" law is called "removal of disability of a minor":
    Quote Quoting Arkansas Law
    9-26-104. Removal of disability of a minor.

    (a) The circuit courts of this state or the respective judges thereof in vacation shall have the power to authorize any person who is a resident of the county and who has reached his or her sixteenth birthday to transact business in general and any particular business specified in like manner and with the same effect as if such act or thing were done by a person who had attained majority. Every act done by a person so authorized shall have the same force and effect in law and equity as if done by a person of full age.

    (b) Letters testamentary, of administration, or of guardianship may be granted to any such person, if otherwise entitled by law to have or hold such fiduciary trust, with like effect as if granted to a person over the age of majority.

    (c) The order of removal of disabilities may be made by the courts, or the respective judges thereof, in term time or in vacation.

    (d)(1) The circuit courts of any county in which a nonresident minor of the State of Arkansas owns real estate, or any interest in real estate, shall have jurisdiction to remove the disabilities of minority of such minor where the person has reached sixteen (16) years of age, as to such real estate. This may be done to enable the minor to sell and convey the real estate, or any interest therein, which may be owned by the minor or to mortgage or otherwise dispose of the real estate, as fully and effectually as if the minor was of full age.

    (2) The order of removal of disabilities may be made by the courts, or the respective judges thereof in term time or in vacation, and, if made in vacation, shall be entered at large upon the records of the court.

    (e) After the filing of a petition to remove the disability of a minor, the court shall fix a time and place for hearing the petition. At least twenty (20) days before the date of the hearing, notice of the filing of the petition and of the time and place of the hearing shall be given by the petitioner to any parent or legal guardian of the minor who has not joined in the petition. The notice shall be given in the same manner as is provided for summons under the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure.
    It is not clear from your post if she would qualify to emancipate herself - it sounds like she is still dependent on her father for support.

    If the father moved to Arkansas to avoid the Delaware child protective investigation, the Delaware Court and family services may be able to do something in conjunction with the legal authorities in Arkansas to continue or complete the investigation, or to compel the return of the child pending completion. They should be able to tell you what they can (and cannot) do under the circumstances.

    It may be possible to petition for guardianship in Arkansas, but that is something you would want to attempt with the help of an Arkansas family lawyer.

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